After a hugely successful 2016 edition, Dubai played host to the biggest pop culture convention in the Middle East once again – did it have all the bells and whistles to go bigger than the last one?
Stars, Panels & Workshops: The star power was surely shining bright at the massive Dubai World Trade Centre venue as the convention played host to celebrities including Anthony Mackie (star of The Avengers and Captain America), Liam Cunningham (star of Game of Thrones), Greg Gurnberg (actor/ producer known for roles in Star Trek and Star Wars) and WWE star Kane. The panel I got to attend involve a Q&A session between Geeking Out co-hosts Gurnberg and Kevin Smith (who joined through video stream from L.A.) – the screen distance didn’t dampen the spirit of the room where Smith talked at length about his passion for film-making and the Hollywood corporate machine. Coupled with his risque humour made the panel extremely humorous and entertaining.
Stalls & Attractions: My highlight from the event had to be the extended Artists Alley where so many talented regional artists got under to sell their artworks and products – there was everything on sale from funny mugs to manga art. There were eye-catching stalls from Magic Planet (who set up a free-to-play arcade), Geek Nation and even Uber – the presence of a Marvel and Star Wars stall was sorely missed this year and left a lot to be desired. Wrestling fans would’ve loved the WWE stall as well, where cosplayers could show off their best impressions and superstar Kane also made a pit-stop.
‘Don’t tell San Diego, but I think this [Comic Con] is better’, said actor Greg Grunberg
Cosplayers: As with any Dubai event, there were tons of F&B options from sushi to gourmet burgers as well, close to the main outdoor stage courtesy. If all that wasn’t enough to satiate your geek appetite, there were throngs of cosplayers from Malificent to (anime) Tokyo Ghoul with a variety of Jokers and Harley Quinns in between. As Gurnberg put it, it was the passionate convention crowd that made it what it is: “Don’t tell San Diego, but I think this Comic Con is better”.
Highs: Massive stalls that covered every pop culture element, talented local artists on display, and endearing panels and workshops
Lows: No Marvel or Star Wars presence this year
Verdict: The 2017 MEFCC was definitely worth a visit for the AED 100 ticket for pop culture fans of absolutely any age!